Garden AdviceHow to Put Lights on a Christmas Tree
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Christmas is that time of the year when everyone becomes overly enthusiastic about the holidays. However, sometimes all this excitement can turn into stress and lead to negligence.
No matter how exhilarated you might get during the holidays, safety must always be your top priority. Therefore try to keep these safety tips in mind, for a better Christmas season, preferably one without accidents.
Let’s start with the thing that everyone thinks about when they hear the word “Christmas” – a gorgeously decorated Christmas tree. If you are planning on getting a real one, it’s very important to keep it away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, air conditioners, electric heaters, etc. Real trees are highly flammable due to sap in their needles. So one must be very careful when choosing where to place them. A burning tree can fill a room with fire in just a few minutes.
Remember to keep your tree watered and fresh, too. The drier it is, the bigger the fire threat it poses. When choosing a Christmas tree, pay attention to the needles. They will be green and hard to break if the tree has been cut down recently.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Christmas trees were responsible for 47 house fires, across the UK, between 2011 and 2012.
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Inspect your Christmas lights for any loose connections, damaged plugs and wires which can cause a fire. Improperly stored, old and broken electrical decorations can be a fire hazard as well. Thus, be sure to always read the electrical safety tips written on the Christmas lights’ pack and check if they’re recommended for indoor use. For example, LED Christmas lights are fireproof, don’t produce heat, making them more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
However, regardless of what type of lights you go with, beware of outlet and extension cord overload. Christmas lights must always be safe for use, without any broken bulbs or exposed cables. Always turn them off before going to bed or when you intend to leave the house.
National Accident Helpline says that more than 1 in 40 (2.7%) people have suffered an electric shock due to badly wired Christmas lights.
Scented candles contribute to the holiday atmosphere perfectly, however, one should always acknowledge the open flame that comes with them. Therefore, place any candles you have on a sturdy base away from surrounding objects and combustible materials.
Never leave a burning candle unattended or go to bed without blowing it out first. An alternative is to use electric flame candles, they are much safer and effective. Never hang lit candles on a Christmas tree and ensure they are in stable candleholders.
RoSPA also reveals that in 2011/12 around 1,000 fires are caused by candles, resulting in nine deaths and 388 injured.
Even if real trees appear to be more dangerous than artificial ones, they both are equally vulnerable to Christmas tree light risks. When buying an artificial Christmas tree, be on the lookout for the “Fire Resistant” label. This indicates that the tree is more resistant and is less likely to catch fire. But beware that even the fire-resistant trees cannot withstand open flames.
Pre-lit artificial trees are very susceptible to ignition. With each assembly and disassembly of the tree, the wiring of the lights can get damaged. Even a small spark can start a huge fire, encompassing everything surrounding it.
Child and pet-proof your Christmas decorations. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how high you hang the decoration, your kids will somehow find a way to reach them. Therefore, we recommend using non-breakable ornaments. But still, if you have beautiful yet fragile decorations that you want to put at all cost, choose a high spot to place them. When you buy decorations, replace the metal hooks that serve for hanging with ribbons.
As these hooks are sharp and can hurt your child or pet if swallowed. We also recommend reducing the usage of tinsel, as they are a huge choking hazard. Keep in mind that Holly berries, mistletoe and poinsettias are poisonous for cats and dogs when eaten, so if you have any pets, avoid them.
The most highly poisonous festive plants that many people are unaware of are mistletoe and holly. While they are quite pretty to look at, the berries they produce are extremely toxic and eating too many can even prove deadly. This is one of the reasons mistletoes is so hard to come by sometimes.
If you really insist on having holly or mistletoe in the house on Christmas eve, be sure to snip off all of their berries as they appear. It takes only twenty holly berries and even fewer mistletoe ones to lead to something fatal.
Overall, it’s best you skip on holly and mistletoe, especially if you have any children or pets in the house.
Don’t leave cooking for the last moment and give yourself enough time to prepare the perfect Christmas dinner. Sometimes it can be challenging to balance meal preparation with all the Christmas excitement going on in the background. This can often cause people to forget about the food they are cooking. Fire accidents caused by forgotten food are very common at this time of the year.
National Accident Helpline shares that over the Christmas period there have been 400,000 burnt Christmas turkeys.
So It can be helpful to know what to do if your oven catches fire.
When the Christmas tree disposal time comes, many people are wondering if it’s safe to burn their tree in the fireplace. Absolutely not! Since you have been watering the tree the entire holiday in order to keep it as fresh as possible, it will not be dry enough to burn (even if it is – just don’t do it).
Burning sap from fresh trees can stick to the inside of the chimney and potentially result in a chimney fire.
On the other hand, if the Christmas tree is fully dry and seasoned, it’s not worth the burning. A burning Christmas tree is hard to control and will burn faster than you expect. Pine and fir trees also produce creosote (flammable gas) when burning, causing build-ups on chimney walls. For your safety instead of burning the Christmas tree, use a Christmas tree disposal service.
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Image source: Shutterstock / 3523studio
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